World Coal Association CEO Benjamin Sporton said coal would be the enabler of modern societies and economic development and help build infrastructure and power businesses and homes.
"As Asia rapidly urbanises and industrialises, coal becomes the fuel of choice, due to its abundance, affordability and reliability," he said.
"Fifty per cent of electricity generation growth in south east Asia by 2040 will come from coal, overtaking gas as the primary fuel."
Research by the Asian Development Bank found that businesses reported the single largest obstacle to growth in developing Asia was poor electricity supply.
"Without access to affordable, reliable, grid-based electricity, which coal provides, it is impossible for economies to grow and develop," Sporton said.
"With the use of coal projected to continue to grow across Asia over coming decades, a low emission technology pathway for coal is essential.
"Cleaner coal technologies, such as high efficiency low emission coal technologies, are technologically proven and commercially available today and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal by up to 35%."